Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Southwold: Emotional service pays tribute to Great Flood of 1953 victims

22:17 30 January 2013

Southwold Mayor Michael Ladd gives a reading during the service which commemorated the five people who died in Southwold during the Great Flood of 1953.

Southwold Mayor Michael Ladd gives a reading during the service which commemorated the five people who died in Southwold during the Great Flood of 1953.

Archant

SURVIVORS gave poignant and vivid stories in an emotional service to commemorate the five people who died in Southwold in the Great Flood of 1953 tonight.

shares

The 60th anniversary service, held at St Edmunds church, remembered the five residents in low-lying Ferry Road who lost their lives in one of the UK’s worst peacetime disasters.

Sixty years ago tomorrow, the Great Flood battered the east coast of England as high spring tides, deep atmospheric low pressure and exceptionally strong northerly gales led to sea water surging over coastal defences and sweeping two miles inland.

Around 100 members of the community attended to share their memories of that fateful night as survivors gave moving speeches and candles were lit in memory for each of the five people who died.

Southwold mayor Michael Ladd said: “It was a great service with poignant and emotional stories told.

“It is important to hold these events to look back on the history of the town. It was one of the biggest – if not the biggest – disasters that has hit Southwold.

“But it was a bit eerie because the winds were quite strong and you could hear the wind howling around the church.

“It was almost as if Mother Nature was telling us she was still a force to be reckoned with.”

During the evening, Southwold town councillor Susan Doy told how a weekly dance she attended unusually got moved from the upstairs of Southwold pier on the night of the Great Flood, potentially saving dozens of lives.

Matthew Horwood, aged just one and in hospital at London at the time, told how his family had to escape onto the roof of their house after it had been knocked back 400 yards.

His mum and dad were rescued by a passer-by in a boat – moments before their house sunk.

On behalf of Frank Upcraft, Professor Hugh Williamson told how Mr Upcraft’s father’s boat completely vanished into the sea – only for a piece of the boat to reappear 27 years later, washed up on the beach with his father’s name on.

Former St Felix student Penelope Bartlett also recounted how the windows rattled and waking up the next morning to discover water had reached the school’s grounds.

An estimated 46,000 farm animals also perished in the flood, many of them on the marshes around Southwold.

Simon Pitcher, team rector of Sole Bay ministry team who helped stage the event, said: “It was a great service that was well-attended.

“Survivors shared their memories of that night and thanked those who were brave and risked their lives by helping others that night.”

Meanwhile, the Princess Royal will attend a special service at Chelmsford Cathedral to mark the anniversary on Thursday.

Acts of remembrance are being held up and down the Suffolk Coast this week to commemorate the Great Flood of January 31, 1953 which claimed over 50 lives in Suffolk and 307 nationwide.

shares

0 comments

Drink driver in court

Two drink-drivers have been banned from the road after appearing before Ipswich magistrates.

The new bandstand is completed in Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge.

A Suffolk town is celebrating the arrival of its new bandstand with a Party in the Park.

Abellio Greater Anglia train at Ipswich station

Trains have been cancelled until 3pm at the earliest today between Ipswich to Felixstowe following a signalling fault.

Crash closes lane of A12 at Capel St Mary

A woman was taken to hospital with head injuries following a crash which closed a lane of the A12 this morning.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

A 21-year-old Ipswich man has admitted entering garages with intent to steal in a act of stupidity.

Mark Millar, chief executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, with Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Ipswich Building Society has been named as the community engagement partner for one of Suffolk’s biggest ever mass participation and public art events.

Drivers who refuse to put down their mobiles are targeted

Traffic police in Suffolk and Norfolk stopped 36,000 drivers in a year on suspicion of what are termed the ‘Fatal Four’ motoring offences.

Woman on bail for more than two years

The length of time suspects are bailed in Suffolk has been questioned after it emerged three people were kept on police bail for more than two years after their first arrest.

Sizewell C groundwork

Disappointment was voiced last night over renewed uncertainty for Suffolk residents waiting for a decision on Sizewell’s new nuclear reactors.

Despite wet weather, people head to Felixstowe for ice cream or just a walk in the rain.

Scarcely a few weeks have passed since talk of hot and humid temperatures interrupted by heavy rain and flash thunderstorms.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages